cannot stand is the saying.
While I don't think that saying really applies to the Republican Party here in North Mecklenburg, things are going to get very messy over the next few months.
Tuesday saw the announcement of a new group forming in the area called Lake Norman Conservatives. The group's first event is ambitious - a candidate forum for the US Senate race. Three of the five announced candidates are apparently confirmed, but that list does not include Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius. I'd be surprised if he does.
This new group has its genesis in the controversy over toll roads - a controversy that has its roots in the actions of our elected officials - primarily Republicans. (See here, here, and here for just a few examples.) Those actions were bound to ultimately end in this result - a division within the ranks of the conservative movement in the area. Regardless of what happens from here on out, people need to remember where the blame really lies for that.
There are good, committed people on both sides of this dividing line, and I hate to see them lining up against each other.
Wednesday saw the entry of recently re-elected Cornelius Commissioner John Bradford into the NC House 98 race to represent North Mecklenburg in the NC Legislature. This is the second time in two election cycles where a Cornelius elected official announced plans to run for a higher office immediately after a municipal election cycle - the other time being when then newly re-elected Mayor Tarte jumped into the primary for NC Senate 41. Tarte was successful and maybe Bradford will be too. However, if I was a Cornelius voter I'd be pretty annoyed with my Town Board repeatedly being seen as a stepping stone to higher office.
During the last campaign when Bradford was the target of the "Fire Bradford" signs posted by the Widen I77 activist group, the campaign pushed back by releasing a long list of endorsements. One of those endorsers had this to say...
Local businessman Joshua Dobi, expressed concern if Bradford were not to be re-elected. “Considering the amount of turnover we have had on the Commission this year I would be very worried if John Bradford were not to be re-elected to the Cornelius Town Commission. His service is vital to the health of our town government.
Apparently, Bradford does not share that same "worry".
Expect to see comments coming out of the Bradford camp like "this just came up", or "people started asking me to run" etc, etc. Do not believe them. The rumor that Bradford was thinking of running has been circulating for a while now. The first bit of evidence received here was less than ten days after the last election. Also, comments by the other announced Republican in the race, Lynette Rinker, make it sound like she might have had the inside scoop a while ago. In hindsight, her references in her campaign announcement to being "a full-time legislator and working for you will be my only job” may be an attempt differentiate herself from Bradford who owns a real estate management business.
This race will be interesting to watch, but frankly, as a conservative, neither announced candidate excites me all that much. The biggest local issue this year has been the widening of I77 with tolls and both of these candidates come down on the wrong side of that issue. They are in the same camp as the person who they are trying to replace - Speaker Thom Tillis. It's hard to see many of the local activists I know supporting either of them enthusiastically. What would make it more interesting is if a third candidate jumps into the race.
I can think of a few people who I'd like to see, but unfortunately, there is no chatter, swirl, rumor or innuendo to report on the possibility of that.